Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease and is the second most common form of cancer for both men and women. However, you may be surprised to know that there is more than one type of lung cancer, each with its symptoms and root causes. Here is a look at some major forms of lung cancer you should be aware of.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NCLC) is just a group of different lung cancers that behave similarly. These account for between 80% and 85% of all lung cancers and typically occur in current or former smokers. The major identifying symptom is a cough that won’t go away. These cancers are often lumped together because the root causes and treatment are similar and the cancers behave the same way. Common types of NSCLCs include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small Cell lung cancer is the second most common form of lung cancer and is also referred to as oat cell cancer. This form of lung cancer grows much more quickly than NSCLC and often spreads to other parts of the body before the patient can be diagnosed. Therefore, chemotherapy is the most common treatment for small cell lung cancer, because it spreads too quickly to be removed in a simple surgery. But, like NSCLC, it is typically caused by a current or former smoking habit by the patient.
Chest Wall Tumors
A chest wall tumor is a cancerous cell that forms on the wall of a patient’s chest; however, it may spread to the lungs if left untreated. Like most tumors, chest wall tumors can be malignant or benign. If they are allowed to grow big enough without being treated, they can press against the lungs and cause difficulty breathing and chest pain. If the tumor is benign it can be removed with a simple surgery, however, if it is malignant, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be necessary, and in some cases, a rib cage may even need to be removed.
Pleural mesothelioma is lung cancer that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers — a building material that was commonly used throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Asbestos production was significantly limited after it was discovered to cause cancer, but not before claiming many lives and finding its way into buildings and household products across the world. Asbestos causes damage to the pleura, membranes that cover the lungs and the surrounding chest walls.
Although today mesothelioma is rare, it still claims the lives of between 2,000 and 3,000 patients per year. There is no cure for mesothelioma, and the disease has a high mortality rate. However, many patients are entitled to a settlement from whoever is responsible for exposing them to the deadly material. Although it’s no replacement for your health, a successful lawsuit can bring a patient and their family a sense of closure after an unfortunate mesothelioma diagnosis. If you’d like to read more about asbestos-related illness settlements, the Mesothelioma Cancer Network has information available.